Guaranteed easiest clean up
We have a general rule in our apartment that if one person cooks, the other cleans. Since I typically am doing the former, Joe is often times the person manning the sink after we finish up our meal. With the constant flow of recipe testing that goes down in our kitchen, I am often questioned how it is possible that I dirtied so many dishes. If you have ever tried to create a recipe, or you are like me and decide to somehow use every bowl, plate, or fork in your cabinets, you get what a shitshow your kitchen can look like after the fact. In order to avoid this situation, and really just make Joe a happier human, I started creating “one sheet pan” dinners. The main requirement of these meals: once done cooking, the only dirty dish (other than those you ate on) is the baking sheet. These recipes are proving to be delicious and, not surprisingly, incredibly easy. I now know what Joe is going to request for every dinner from here on out…
A weeknight Whole30 staple
Let me start right off the bat by saying in no way, whatsoever, is this meal replacing a delicious bowl of gluten and cheese filled spaghetti and meat sauce from your favorite Italian restaurant. Also, before the naysayers come at me about how quickly this meat sauce is made, this is not your grandmother’s Sunday sauce; this is a quick meat marinara sauce that does not take much time but still tastes delicious. Now that we’re on the same page, let me show you how to make a delicious and fast Whole30 approved dinner that you can surprisingly pull together with some potential staples lying around your kitchen (or am I the only one who regularly has zucchini and sweet potatoes on hand and ground beef in my freezer?).
Thanksgiving leftovers transformed to chicken & vegetable soup
If you’re like my family, as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over everyone immediately grabs a Tupperware and begins fitting as much food as possible into their dedicated “leftovers bin”; fighting for that last bite of stuffing or spoonful of sweet potato casserole. This year, I made it easy for the rest of my family, and took myself out of the fight declaring I only wanted to take one thing home, something that absolutely no one else was eyeing: the turkey carcass. Yep, that’s right, I wanted the bones. So much so, that I even traveled back to NYC with them in a Ziploc bag (I know, seriously a psycho move). BUT, the week prior I made turkey stock with all of the turkey bones leftover from my Friendsgiving meal and it truly was better than any bone broth I had ever tasted (fully tooting my own horn) and it was garlic & onion free. This is huge for all of my low FODMAP friends out there. So, instead of elbowing my sister over the white turkey meat, I grabbed my bones and headed back to my apartment where my instant pot resided. As expected, the turkey stock turned out magnificently. So tasty, in fact, that I may begin eating turkey instead of chicken just so I can store the bones for my next batch of broth. Either way, I had vats and vats of turkey stock to put to work; one can only fit so many mason jars in her refrigerator. As I felt a cold coming on, I knew what I was prepping for my weekday lunches: homemade chicken vegetable soup. It was insanely easy, cooked itself (not kidding), and is now officially going to be on my meal rotation all winter. Bless you, turkey, for giving me so much to love over the past two weeks.
This (delicious) meal was inspired by two questions I found myself wondering this past week. One, what exactly makes a pesto a “pesto”. Is it the basil? Is it just a leaf blended with some type of nut and an oil? Is it simply something green that is a spreadable sauce? Two, why the heck is half of the fennel I just purchased all stems and fronds and what am I supposed to do with them (because I am mentally unable to throw away any type of food). Along with these questions, I found myself at my favorite local butcher shop looking through the glass case the same way I have a thousand times before but all of a sudden gravitating towards a different type of meat: lamb. Following my stomach (because how else should you live life), these thoughts, questions, and epiphanies, I was led me to one thing: fennel frond fucking pesto. Sorry, I know I have an extremely bad cursing habit and use the F word as an adjective too often, but it just rolled off the tongue so perfectly. So anyway, this triple F pesto sauce became the connection between all of my wondering thoughts and the base of a deliciously adventurous, and very different than my usual, weeknight dinner.